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64 Hectares of Chitakale Pine Plantation Destroyed Within 2 Years

Hewage at heavily destroyed Chitakale Plantation Hewage at heavily destroyed Chitakale Plantation - pic by Hastings Jimani
Authorities at Smallholder Tea Estate Company (STECO) in Mulanje have disclosed that close to 64 hectares of pine trees at their Chitakale Plantation have been illegally harvested by thieves from 2021.
STECO Operations Manager Ajith Hewage told Zodiak Online on Tuesday that the value of lost trees is over K500 million.
Hewage said apart from pine, the thieves have also stolen blue gum trees on a seven hectare land.
“Each passing day, people are destroying our trees and when we chase them, they burn our tea, destroy our offices and go away with office items including computers,  steal livestock like chicken, goats and few months they killed two cows,” said Hewage.
He said they have fears that once the thieves deplete the forest, they will have no fire wood to process the black tea.  
On Monday this week, police in Mulanje used tear gas to disperse some people who were found cutting down the trees openly and in anger, the thieves according to Hewage burnt two hectares of tea. 
Meanwhile, Mulanje Police Spokesperson Innocent Moses says no arrest has so far been made in connection to the Monday theft and violence.
“We are still investigating the matter and soon all the suspects will be arrested,” said Moses.
 There has been massive theft of trees at Chitakale Plantation which is owned by businessman, Leston Mulli.
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Last modified on Thursday, 17/08/2023

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